Understanding Part B Premium Increases and the Hold Harmless Provision

By Brian Krantz - April 24, 2023

When it comes to Medicare, it’s essential to understand the various provisions and regulations that may impact your healthcare costs. One such provision is the “hold harmless” rule, which protects some beneficiaries from significant increases in their Medicare Part B premiums. In this article, we’ll explore the details of the hold harmless provision and how it may affect your Medicare Part B costs.

What is the Hold Harmless Provision?

The hold harmless provision is a regulation that prevents certain Medicare beneficiaries from experiencing significant increases in their Part B premiums. This provision ensures that the dollar amount of the increase in a beneficiary’s Part B premium does not exceed the dollar amount of their Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). As a result, the hold harmless provision can help to protect beneficiaries’ Social Security benefits from being consumed by rising Medicare costs.

Who is Eligible for the Hold Harmless Provision?

To be eligible for the hold harmless provision, a Medicare beneficiary must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be enrolled in Medicare Part B.
  2. Have their Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security benefits.
  3. Not be subject to the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), which affects beneficiaries with higher incomes.

It’s important to note that the hold harmless provision does not apply to everyone. Beneficiaries who are new to Medicare, those who do not have their premiums deducted from their Social Security benefits, and those who are subject to IRMAA are not protected by the hold harmless rule.

How Does the Hold Harmless Provision Work?

Each year, the Social Security Administration announces the COLA, which is an adjustment to Social Security benefits to account for inflation. At the same time, Medicare Part B premiums may also be adjusted. If the increase in Part B premiums is higher than the COLA, the hold harmless provision comes into play for eligible beneficiaries.

For example, if your Social Security COLA is $25 and your Part B premium increase is $30, the hold harmless provision will limit the increase in your Part B premium to $25. This means that your Social Security benefits will not decrease due to the higher Part B premium.

The hold harmless provision is an essential protection for some Medicare beneficiaries, helping them maintain their Social Security benefits in the face of rising healthcare costs. It’s crucial to understand whether you are eligible for this provision and how it may impact your Medicare Part B premiums. Staying informed about your healthcare costs and the various provisions that protect your benefits can help you better plan for your healthcare needs and overall financial well-being. Work with a local New York Medicare agent like the team at Plan Medicare, so all of your Medicare questions are answered.

Speak to a Licensed Advisor in Medicare today

Book an Appointment Call: 516-900-7877